Top 10 Lists

Top 10: Best Space Movies

After man set foot on the moon, society has had an insatiable fascination with space and what possibly lurks out in distant galaxies waiting to be discovered.  With the new space movie, Life, due out in theaters this weekend, what better time than now to look at the best space movies ever put to film.  There is a spoiler alert in effect so tread lightly!

#10: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): Although it still feels like part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe formula, Guardians of the Galaxy is full of amazing characters that have grown from obscurity to fame since the movie’s release.  The film tackles a really difficult task in introducing a group of new characters yet creating a fun, engrossing story line that isn’t afraid to be zany.  You have to give a lot of credit to director James Gunn for making us care about a talking raccoon and tree.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 91%

Metacritic Score: 76

MovieBabble Score: A-

Guardians of the Galaxy
image via 1,2,3 WTF?

#9: WALL-E (2008): One of many successes from Pixar, WALL-E is a step above the average animated tale.  Filled with beautiful animation, not until 2016’s Zootopia did we get another animated movie with the same amount of topical societal discussion.  WALL-E manages to be wholly entertaining despite have practically zero dialogue for the first half of the film with serious themes of environmental hazards and then switches gears to a completely different type of story regarding obesity and laziness.  WALL-E manages to be the rare animated film that both adults and children can enjoy.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 96%

Metacritic Score: 94

MovieBabble Score: A-

Wall-E
image via Twitter

#8: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982): Often considered the best of the Star Trek movies, The Wrath of Khan takes the good elements of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and surrounds them around a better plot and far superior villain, making for a great film with some of our favorite characters.  Although the film feels a little dated today, the film still packs a ton of heart and emotion, capped off by the tear-jerking moment where Kirk comforts Spock as he slowly dies behind glass.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 88%

Metacritic Score: 71

MovieBabble Score: A-

The Wrath of Khan
image via The Geek Twins

#7: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977): More of a cultural touchstone than most people realize, Close Encounters of the Third Kind is one of Steven Spielberg’s most underrated films.  Richard Dreyfuss gives a normally solid performance in the lead role as an “every man” type of character.  Like other films on the list, Close Encounters has a classic score by famed composer John Williams and is one of the main pieces of media at the head of the fascination with UFO’s.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 96%

Metacritic Score: 92

MovieBabble Score: A

Close Encounters of the Third Kind
image via GeekTyrant

#6: Alien (1979): This classic film blends elements from many different genres to create a space creature-feature that appeals to almost everyone.  Alien has forever changed the game for not only science fiction films, but also for gender roles in film, proving that a woman could be the tough, gritty lead character we need in a time where it was not very prevalent.  The best (and most iconic) scene is most definitely where the Alien pops out of John Hurt as we are watching actual shock and terror from the rest of the cast as they had no idea it was coming.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 97%

Metacritic Score: 83

MovieBabble Score: A

Alien
image via secret cave

#5: Apollo 13 (1995): Led by three very believable performances from Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton, Apollo 13 hardly feels like a Hollywood movie bur rather the actual true events that the movie is based on.  Director Ron Howard does a masterful job of relaying the in-depth astronaut and space discussion in a manner that does not feel “dumbed down” for audiences and still manages to be understandable and intriguing.  Above all else, Apollo 13 is a compelling look into the inter-workings of NASA.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 95%

Metacritic Score: 77

MovieBabble Score: A

Apollo 13
image via Sky

#4: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977): The movie that started the franchise building universes we in see in Hollywood today, Star Wars remains a classic due to fantastically written characters that have since changed the way characters are formatted in film.  Filled with memorable moments including the explosion of the Death Star, the destruction of Alderaan, and many, many more, Star Wars puts a smile on your face with each passing scene.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 93%

Metacritic Score: 92

MovieBabble Score: A+

A New Hope
image via StarWars.com

#3: Aliens (1986): A sequel that takes a classic movie in a completely different direction, Aliens manages to capture the fear and dread that the original Alien contained while adding in a shot of adrenaline as the action takes center stage with the addition of marines to Ripley’s fight against the almost indestructible monsters.  However, James Cameron prevents the movie from going into generic blockbuster territory by continuing to have believable character arcs and an emotional touch which leads to a sequel with standards that have rarely ever been met.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 98%

Metacritic Score: 87

MovieBabble Score: A+

Aliens
image via YouTube

#2: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968): Stanley Kubrick’s look into the evolution of species and the foolishness of mankind is pure poetry throughout its run time.  2001: A Space Odyssey’s use of models and special effects has surprisingly stood the test of time in the years since the film’s release.  However, 2o01 lives on as a science fiction classic due to its heady themes that culminate in one of the most bizarre and eloquent final acts to a film ever created, not to mention the instantly recognizable score and the iconic villain HAL 9000.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 94%

Metacritic Score: 86

MovieBabble Score: A+

2001: A Space Odyssey
image via Pinterest

#1: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980): Arguably the best sequel of all time, The Empire Strikes Back adds another layer to everything that we loved in the original Star Wars.  An underrated moment that does not get referenced enough is when Han is about to be frozen in Carbonite and responds “I know” to Leia who had just told him that she loves him.  Stuffed with moments that have since seeped into the public consciousness, Empire was the movie that made us all fall in love with Darth Vader.  Empire may just be the most influential space film yet.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 94%

Metacritic Score: 81

MovieBabble Score: A+

The Empire Strikes Back
image via StarWars.com

That’s the list?  What are your thoughts?  Are there any movies you think are missing?  Comment below and let me know!

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What movie topic should I discuss next?  Whether it be old or new, the choice is up to you!

25 Comments

  1. Interesting list. I’ve seen A New Hope, so I can’t judge it. I would’ve probably put The Martian on the list, as I drift more toward hard SF in space movies. I’d be curious, too, where you’d put Arrival in relationship to this list. Fun read. Cheers

    1. The Martian was 11th or 12th. It hurt me to keep it off. As for Arrival, I figured since it didn’t actually take place in space that it wasn’t eligible for this list. It’s a great movie though!

      1. I asked about Arrival because I sort of saw that in the same context as Close Encounters of the Third Kind; it didn’t really take place in space either, did it? Or am I mis-remembering it?

        Have you done a list of top 10 time travel movies?

      2. I think it’s as you and I have commented before, these top ten things tend to swing with moods, eras and memories. I had other issues with Arrival and would not have put it on this list, either.

  2. Alien, Aliens, Wall-E, Guardians: totally with you. I’m one of those people who never caught up with Star Wars (which I will one day..hopefully). So my list would change quite a bit from yours. Mine would probably have Pitch Black and Event Horizon and The Fifth Element somewhere.

    1. The Martian was an honorable mention (maybe 11th or 12th) and pained me to keep off the list! As for Arrival, I don’t know if I would characterize it as a “space” movie necessarily, but that may change as time goes on!

  3. This is a truly great list. Aliens will always be my absolute favorite scifi movie. I always see Star Wars as something seperate from the “normal ” movies. I enjoy them so much, and am such a huge fan of the franchise, that I think they are pretty much a League of their own. Great and highly enjoyable post 😊

  4. Great list!

    I personally found Close Encounters and 2001: A Space Odyssey to be quite boring. But Apollo 13 was definitely an amazing movie!

    I assumed Gravity, Interstellar, and/or The Martian would have made this list somewhere as well.

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